|Publication number||US7509281 B1|
|Application number||US 09/709,993|
|Publication date||Mar 24, 2009|
|Filing date||Nov 10, 2000|
|Priority date||Nov 12, 1999|
|Publication number||09709993, 709993, US 7509281 B1, US 7509281B1, US-B1-7509281, US7509281 B1, US7509281B1|
|Inventors||Matthew Brown, Marc Jazvac|
|Original Assignee||Convergys Cmg Utah, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (24), Non-Patent Citations (31), Referenced by (3), Classifications (26), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/165,296, filed on Nov. 12, 1999.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to production of billing statements. Particularly, the present invention relates the production of billing statements for different services and the production of a single billing statement for telephone, cable, and data services.
2. Description of Related Art
Service providers such as local telephone service providers, long distance telephone service providers, and cable television service providers typically produce and send their customers monthly billing statements that reflect charges based on transactions such as telephone calls, pay per view requests, etc. that occurred during the month. Typically, separate statements are produced and sent for each service because each service is subject to different messages, notices, inserts, taxes, collection procedures, etc. Furthermore, there are often physical limitations with respect to the printed bill such that all of the information the service provider would like to print on the bill cannot be accommodated. Current statement production systems impose further limitations by providing few formatting and layout options to service providers. Service providers today need flexibility in defining the format and layout options for billing statements and further need the ability to generate one billing statement for accounts having any combination of telephone, cable, and/or data services.
The present invention is a system and method for producing (e.g., printing or displaying) statements that have charges for one or more service categories. The present invention enables a service provider to define which services appear on what statements for any given customer. The present invention is directed to Statement Presentation which refers to the collating, grouping, summarizing, and describing of transactions for a statement. The present invention allows a service provider to group, summarize, and order like statement transactions for a particular service category (e.g., telephone service, cable service, and data service). Statement transactions are defined generally to be different charges for various activities or tasks such as payments and adjustments, recurring service charges, one time charges for installations, deposits, etc., usage of telephony, cable, or data services, taxes, etc.) for one or more occurrences. An occurrence on a statement relates to a telephone line that has an associated telephone number or an equipment outlet that has an associated equipment outlet number (preferably, 5 digits). The equipment outlet number defines which addressable services are associated with which equipment and are assigned to a particular outlet.
The present invention subdivides statement transactions into several layers for presentation on a statement. At the highest layer are four Segments: Summary, Itemization, Usage Detail, and Tax. These Segments are subdivided into User-Defined Sections, which are groups of a lower presentation layer. These lower presentation layers vary by the Segment type. The presentation layer for the Summary Segment is the Summary Line. The presentation layer for the itemization and Usage Detail Segments consists of presentation Occurrences, which are subdivided by Statement Presentation Codes. The presentation layer for the Tax Segment is the Tax Statement Line.
The present invention uses Statement Presentation Codes to determine how transactions are grouped and produced (e.g., printed or displayed) on a statement. Services, pay per view (PPV) events, payments and adjustments, recurring service charges, one-time charges, usage, etc. are assigned a Statement Presentation Code. Each Statement Presentation Code has a group of attributes that defines how information related to the code may be printed or viewed. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the Statement Presentation Code attributes include a Section Code that determines where on the statement to print the Statement Presentation Code, a Summary Line to which transaction amounts are added, and an indicator to determine whether the Statement Presentation Code should be sorted within an occurrence.
The Statement Presentation Sections of the present invention provide a means for grouping Statement Presentation Codes. Certain transactions, such as payments, that are not specific to a Category of Service may be grouped into one or more Section Codes as well. Definition of Sections and Statement Presentation Codes in accordance with the present invention allow a service provider to group transactions by category, group some transactions by category and others in sections of blended or no categories, and group ‘cross category’ service packages in one section while grouping category specific transactions in their own sections.
Another feature of the present invention is the ability to produce summaries (e.g., by printing or displaying) of various services that a service provider may offer such as basic, non-basic, long distance, and calling card telephony services and basic, expanded basic, premium channel, and pay per view cable services. The Statement Presentation Codes of the present invention support the grouping and summarizing of the various services. Because of the flexibility in producing statements, a service provider may offer its customers the option of deciding which services are billed on a particular statement. Customers may choose to have all services billed on one statement or they may choose to have some services billed on one statement and other services billed on a different statement.
Another feature of the present invention is the ability to produce statement export files that may be used by a print vendor for printing and sending statements to a service provider's customers. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention a single, statement export file may be produced for telephone, cable, and data services or any combination of the services on one bill.
FIGS 2-32 are examples of screens in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
Preferably, the Statement Presentation Codes 114, 116, 118, 120, 128, 130, 132, 134 dictate how transactions are grouped and presented in each segment on the statement. Preferably, services, pay per view events, payments and adjustments, recurring service charges, one-time charges, usage, etc. are assigned a Statement Presentation Code. The attributes of Statement Presentation Codes include, among other things:
Preferably, transactions may be separated by a Carrier Code. Services that can be processed for a carrier may refer to Statement Presentation Codes that in turn refer to one or more sections unique to the Carrier Code. Usage Attributes (including Statement Presentation Code) are defined by a carrier, so referring to Statement Presentation Codes unique to the Carrier is easy. Preferably, service codes are not defined by a carrier. Therefore, the set up and use of services unique to a Carrier may be dictated by operational methods and procedures.
A statement in accordance with the present invention may include two or more Occurrences (telephone lines or equipment outlets) that have services that refer to the same Statement Presentation Codes (e.g., recurring charges). In some instances, it may be desirable to present all transactions for each telephone line separately. The present invention accommodates this requirement by sorting/processing the transactions by occurrence (telephone line or equipment outlet), prior to sorting them by Statement Presentation Code. However, if some or all of the transactions for all telephone lines are to be combined and presented by Statement Presentation Code, the transactions may be sorted by Statement Presentation Code, and then by telephone line within the Statement Presentation Code. The present invention therefore, supports various methods of sorting. As a result of the flexibility in grouping services, a service provider may allow its customers to decide whether all services are billed on one statement or on multiple statements.
Statement Attribute Codes may be assigned to services, adjustment codes, and pay per view (PPV) events. The Statement Attribute Code defines what services are grouped together and in some cases, how the statement is paid. For example, each statement produced may have a statement attribute. If that statement attribute is assigned a method of payment of direct debit, then the amount of that statement may be automatically drafted. Referring to
Acct# Check Digit
Amt Check Digit
within the Scan
within the Scan
within the Scan
The user may type a code in the PREVIOUS BALANCE STateMenT PRESENTATION CODE field. The user has the option of assigning a Statement Presentation Code to previous balances to indicate where the previous balance will be grouped and displayed on a statement. The user may type one of the following in the BUCKET NUMBER TO START FROM WHEN CALCULATING PAST DUE AMOUNT field:
TABLE 2 ‘1’ = Current ‘3’ = 31-60 ‘5’ = 91-120 ‘2’ = 01-30 ‘4’ = 61-90 ‘6’ = 121+
The amount owed in the bucket typed in this field is totaled with the Accounts Receivable (A/R) from subsequent buckets. This total is compared to an amount in the LATE FEE MINIMUM CHARGE field located on a Late Fee Scheme Maintenance screen. If the calculated total is greater, then the difference between the two amounts is displayed in the LATE BALANCE AMOUNT field in record type ‘S’ of a statement tape file.
Preferably, the user may page down to display additional screens. The following actions pertain to customers with a credit balance (or A/R balance<0). Referring to
The following actions pertain to customers with a debit balance (or A/R balance≧0). The user may type a dollar amount in the DO NOT PRINT STATEMENTS WITH A DEBIT BALANCE LESS THAN field. Customers with an A/R balance less than this amount but greater than zero, preferably, will not have statements produced unless they have other than normal transactions that indicate printing a statement. For example, this field may be set so that the system does not print statements for customers who owe between 0.00 and 5.00 dollars.
The user may type one of the following in the PRINT A FINAL BILL, REGARDLESS OF THE DEBIT BALANCE field:
The user may type one of the following in the SHOULD BE PRODUCED FOR ALL CUSTOMERS field:
The user may type one of the following in the SHOULD BE PRODUCED FOR NON-MONTHLY BILL MODE CUSTOMERS ONLY field:
Preferably, the user may page down to display additional screens. Referring to
The user may type a description up to 35 characters in the SERVICES WITHOUT A DESCRIPTION field if a service without a description is encountered. The user may type up to 35 characters in the MERGED PRORATE DESCRIPTION fields. These messages describe the prorate. The FIRST STATEMENT field indicates prorated charges for the first statement a customer receives. The SUBSEQUENT STATEMENTS field indicates the prorate description that displays on any statements subsequent to the first statement in which prorates occur.
Preferably, the user may page down to display additional screens. Referring to
The user may type a message up to 60 characters in the MESSAGE TO PRINT IF STATEMENTS ARE NOT SENT MONTHLY AND AN OTHER THAN NORMAL TRANSACTION OCCURS field to produce a statement if an other-than-normal transaction occurs for bank draft (direct debit) customers. The user may also leave this field blank so a statement is not produced even if an other-than-normal transaction occurs for bank draft (direct debit) customers.
The user may type the maximum dollar amount a customer can be drafted in the MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWED field. If a customer's balance exceeds this amount, then that customer is not drafted and a statement is sent containing the message that is specified for this condition. The user may type a message up to 60 characters in the MESSAGE TO PRINT IF MAXIMUM AMOUNT IS EXCEEDED field. The user may type the minimum dollar amount for which a customer can be drafted in the MINIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWED field. If a customer's balance is less than this amount, then that customer is not drafted and a statement is sent containing the message that is specified for this condition. The user may type the MESSAGE TO PRINT IF MINIMUM AMOUNT IS NOT MET. If the maximum or minimum conditions are met, preferably, a billing program prints a statement for the customer with the message indicated, regardless of the regular bank draft or change bank draft messages. Preferably, the maximum/minimum message prints in the same place as the standard bank draft message, between the standard billing message and the statement detail.
Statement Attribute Assignment
A statement attribute may be assigned to a service category and/or a combination of service categories. For example, a service category combination consisting of cable and telephone may be assigned to the same statement attribute so that they appear together on the same statement. The combinations may be comprised from the following service categories:
A Statement Presentation Code may be assigned to services, adjustments, and PPV events to indicate where they should be grouped on a statement. The Statement Presentation Code may be up to 3 characters, including spaces. This code defines how information is displayed on the statement and a ledger. Referring to
The user may further specify a section code in the SECTION CODE field. The attributes defined for this Statement Presentation Code print in the section that is assigned using this field. The user may type a value for the SUMMARY LINE field. The user may further specify a sorting method by typing one of the following in the SORT WITHIN OCCURRENCE field:
Next, the user may type one of the following in the PRINT USAGE DETAIL FLAG field:
In the STateMenT PRESENTATION FOR PRORATES field, the user may type the Statement Presentation Code under which the prorates of the current presentation code may list. For example, six services in two different presentation codes may be prorated. The user may define both groups to point to Statement Presentation code 300 Prorated Programming. The description associated with presentation code 300 displays on the statement and ledger. The user may type a font code to assign to the HEADER portion of the statement, the DETAIL portion of the statement, and the FOOTER portion of the statement. The user may specify the offset number of spaces from the left to apply to DESCRIPTIONS. This value defines the indenting to be used to print descriptions on the statement. The user may specify the number of lines to skip BEFORE HEADER and the offset number of spaces from the right to apply to AMOUNTS. This value defines the indenting to be used to print amounts on the statement. Finally, the user may type the number of lines to skip AFTER FOOTER.
Statements, preferably, have the following information.
Fields Used to Display
All items in that group
are added into one line
item and print the ‘Pres-
NOTE: All basic services are
grouped together and all pay
defined on the statement
services are grouped together.
The 3-line BILLING
Two Pay Package. A monthly
DESCRIPTION from the
cable savings of $2.90.
The 3 CHAR description
from the Rate Master for
BAS, HBO, SHO
all services in the group
We hope you enjoy your service.
prints between the intro
and exit lines.
The SERVICE NAME
description from the Rate
Master. Individual rates
are displayed next to
The SHORT NAME
Monthly service: $32.95
description from the Rate
Basic, HBO, Showtime
Master for all services in
We hope you enjoy your service.
the group prints between
the intro and exit lines.
The SERVICE NAME
Your Monthly service includes:
description from the Rate
Master and any auxilia-
ries coded to merge their
descriptions print be-
List Price of Services
tween the intro and/or
exit lines, one service per
You Pay Only
line. Three discount
Your Monthly service includes:
summary lines print if
discounts apply; one
alternate summary line
prints if no discounting
The Ledger Display preferably has the following information.
TABLE 4 Bill Fields Used to Display on Description Ledger EXAMPLE G-Grouping All items in that group are Basic Services $26.50 added into one line item and Pay Service $18.00 print the ‘Presentation NOTE: All basic services Description’ defined on the are grouped together and all ledger. pay services are grouped to- gether. M-Matrix First line of the BILLING Two Pay Package DESCRIPTION from the or Matrix Master. Monthly Service P-Paragraph First line of the BILLING Two Pay Package DESCRIPTION from the or Matrix Master. Monthly Service S-Service First line of the SERVICE Basic $19.95 NAME description from the HBO $9.50 Rate Master. Individual Showtime $9.50 rates are displayed next to each service. Q-Method The PRESENTATION Two Pay Package CODE description to display or in the ledger unless an ‘M’ Monthly Service is typed in position 50 of the ‘98 · BILL’ Control File. In that case, the 1st line of the BILLING DESCRIPTION from the Matrix Master displays. R-Method The PRESENTATION Two Pay Package CODE description to display or in the ledger unless an ‘M’ Monthly Service is typed in position 50 of the ‘98 · BILL’ Control File. In that case, the 1st line of the BILLING DESCRIPTION from the Matrix Master displays.
Next, the user may specify one of the following in the PRINT ZERO RATED PRIMARY SERVICES field:
The user may specify one of the following in the INCLUDE A LA CARTE RATES IN THE PARAGRAPH field:
The user may type one of the following in the PRINT SUMMARY LINES AFTER THE PARAGRAPH EXIT LINE? field:
Preferably, the user may page down to display additional screens. Referring to
Statement Font Codes
As a reference for print vendors that print billing statements, font codes may be set up and assigned to Statement Section Codes and Statement Occurrence Lines so the print vendor knows what font attributes to apply to those areas of the statement. For example, Section Code 101 may be used for defining how telephone services print on a statement. To print with bold and italics font attributes, the font code BI may be assigned to bold and italics in the font code description. After supplying the print vendor with a cross-referenced list of the font codes and their definitions, whenever the print vendor encounters the BI font code, the bold and italic font attributes are applied to that section.
Statement Occurrence Line
Statement Section Codes
Statement Summary Line
Customer Method of Payment Codes
Customer Method of Payment (MOP) codes specify the types of methods of payment that can be used. Depending on the payment method, this option determines if it is allowed in Counter Cash, if a check number is required, the length of an account number, etc. Referring to
The present invention supports the grouping of transactions with Statement Presentation Codes. Accordingly, it supports the grouping of call summary with Statement Presentation Codes defined by a Plan ID and by Usage. Referring to
Usage Types define the types of usage that are supported (e.g., Intrastate or Interstate Calling Cards, Local Operator Collect calls, etc.) This option may be used to maintain usage types and their carrier attributes. Referring to
Usage Plans define the plans to include on the billing statement. For example, Local Direct Dial call may be used, and if defined as a Usage Plan, it is displayed on the bill. This option may be used to maintain these usage plans and their carrier overrides. Referring to
Usage Plan-Carrier Overrides are used to override the carrier's presentation code. Referring to
Multiple Accounts Receivable (A/R)/Multiple Statements
The present invention supports multiple accounts receivable (A/R) and multiple statements. Customers who subscribe to more than one service category (i.e., cable, high-speed data, and telephone), preferably, have separate A/R records so that information regarding each service category may be tracked. Their accounts receivable aging is tracked for each A/R code/Service Category. Furthermore, one or more statements may be generated for a customer depending on the customer's preference. The ability to generate one statement for customers who subscribe to more than one service represents a significant improvement over the prior art.
The present invention tracks accounts receivable aging at the customer/service category/AR code level. Any service category may point to one or more A/R's. Preferably, service categories are defined at the system level. Preferably, AR Codes are user-defined. A service definition preferably includes the service category.
With the present invention, an option is available to put cable, data, and telephone services on the same statement, or separate statements, or any combination of services on one or more statements. Statements are defined at the occurrence level, therefore, any service may be billed on more than one statement.
Preferably, service categories are assigned default statement codes. These statement codes define whether multiple statements or just a single, converged statement is printed for a customer. Service categories that are assigned the same statement code print on the same statement. For example, if cable and telephone services have the same statement code of 1, then a customer who has both cable and telephone services on his or her account will have one statement. If cable service has a statement code of 1 assigned to it and telephone service has statement code of 2 assigned to it, then a customer who has both cable and telephone services will have two statements.
The number of statements a customer has may be changed by overriding the statement code default assigned to a service category. For example, Sunshine Cable may have its service categories set so all categories print on one statement. However, a customer of Sunshine Cable may decide he or she wants cable and telephone services on separate statements. Using Customer Statement Configuration options, it is possible to add a statement to the customer's account and move either the cable or telephone service category to the new statement, therefore, creating a second statement that the customer will receive; one for cable and one for telephone.
Statement Attribute Codes
A Statement Attribute Code, preferably, has a different combination of services assigned for different customers. The attributes of each statement are defined by the Statement Attribute Code. These attributes include statement messages and the number of lines on a statement. After the Statement Attribute Codes are defined as described above, the service category or combination of service categories that will be using those statement attributes on a particular statement may be assigned.
Each statement may have one or more A/R codes assigned to it depending on the services that are billed on the statement. A/R codes allow tracking of outstanding accounts receivable, aging balances, and write-offs. For example, Sunshine Cable may have its cable, high-Speed data, and telephone services billed together on customer statements. If Sunshine Cable wants to track how much of its total accounts receivable and write-offs are generated by different groupings of services, it may establish separate A/R codes for each grouping as explained above. The parameters of an A/R Code indicate late fee charges, multiple service providers, and insufficient funds charge amounts.
After defining the A/R Code, a Service Category may be linked to that A/R Code. This link or association defines the valid combinations of service category and A/R code that may be used. The same service category may be used with several A/R Codes and likewise, the same A/R Code may be used with several service categories. For example, the calling card, special circuit, and telephony Service Categories may all be used with A/R Codes such as Regulated Service and Unregulated Service. Other parameters defined for A/R codes are the PAYMENT PRIORITY and PAYMENT PROCESS TYPE in A/R Service Categories. The PAYMENT PRIORITY, PAYMENT PROCESS TYPE, and MATCH BALANCE fields are used together to determine how the present invention applies payments to a customer's account. Preferably, this procedure is followed any time a payment is processed that is not assigned to a specific A/R Code.
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, processing works as follows. The customer's statement is examined to see if only one A/R exists. If so, the payment applies to that A/R. If more than one A/R exists and the MATCH BALANCE field is ‘Y,’ then the customer's statement is checked to see if the amount of the payment matches the balance of either A/R. If so, the payment applies to the A/R with the matched balance. If they both have the same balance, then it is the A/R with the higher priority. If the MATCH BALANCE field is ‘N’ or the payment does not match either A/R balance, then A/R PAYMENT PRIORITY is considered. The process identifies the PAYMENT PROCESS TYPE identified in the A/R with the highest priority (lowest number value) and uses that to identify how the payment is processed. If PAYMENT PROCESS TYPE=‘R,’ then the payment is applied to that A/R and any overpayment is carried forward to the next A/R according to priority. If overpayment is carried forward, payment processing follows the rule of the next A/R in priority. If PAYMENT PROCESS TYPE=‘G,’ then the payment is applied to the oldest aging bucket of the A/R with the highest priority. It then applies the payment to the same aging bucket in the next A/R by priority.
For example, a customer has the following A/R:
The customer makes a payment of field40. The following A/R results.
The present invention facilitates the production of billing statements for telephone, cable, and data services by supporting the collating, grouping, summarizing, and describing of transactions for a statement. The present invention provides a conceptual layout of a statement that provides a service provider with flexibility in producing statements for its customers. A service provider may group, summarize, and order like statement transactions for a particular service category (e.g., telephone service, cable service, and data service) so that a customer has the option of receiving one or more statements, based on his or her preference, for each service used. Although the present invention has been described in accordance with a preferred embodiment, it is understood that many modifications to the present invention may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
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|US8924290 *||Apr 8, 2013||Dec 30, 2014||Rockstar Consortium Us Lp||Method and apparatus enabling improved protection of consumer information in electronic transactions|
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|U.S. Classification||705/37, 705/38, 705/35|
|Cooperative Classification||G06Q40/025, H04M2215/0104, H04M15/44, G06Q40/04, H04M15/52, H04M15/43, H04M15/06, G06Q40/00, G06Q30/04, H04M15/00, H04M15/51, H04M2215/54|
|European Classification||G06Q30/04, H04M15/43, H04M15/44, H04M15/51, H04M15/52, G06Q40/025, G06Q40/04, G06Q40/00, H04M15/00, H04M15/06|
|Jan 14, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CONVERGYS CMG UTAH INC., UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CONVERGYS INFORMATION MANAGEMENT GROUP INC.;REEL/FRAME:012478/0290
Effective date: 20010906
|May 19, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jun 9, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Apr 26, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CONVERGYS INFORMATION MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC., OHIO
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